Monday, February 26, 2007

Nuggets vs. Grizzlies Preview

(Boulder-CO) When every Nuggets fan heard the news that Allen Iverson was going to come to Denver with his warrior mentality on the hardwood. I think I can speak for all of us when I say optimism was the overall consensus. If you would have told me that the Nuggets would be 2-6 with both Carmelo Anthony and AI on the floor I would have laughed in your face. But now the situation with the Nuggets is anything but a laughing matter. And if the Nuggets continue to lose, often, things around the Mile High City are going to be anything but optimistic.

Entering tonight’s game against the miserable Memphis Grizzlies the Nuggets are on a four-game skid and desperate for a win. Of the fifteen games Memphis has managed to win, one of those games came against the Nuggets. Point being is while all things on paper should indicate a Nuggets victory. Don’t be so sure. Denver has all the excuses needed for this team to slip up and allow a team like Memphis to beat them. I can almost hear the mumbling and grumbling now…

Things are getting serious in the playoff hunt too. The Los Angeles Clippers are now only a half-game back from the Nuggets who have slipped into the eighth and last seed in the Western Conference. And God forbid the Nuggets should lose tonight because the Clip-show are playing the almost-as-bad Bobcats, (another poor team the Nuggets have lost to), and could very well take over that final playoff spot in the event that the Nuggets continue to slide.

Now here are a couple of things that should be eye-opening for everyone in the Nuggets Nation. Since AI has been wearing powder blue Denver’s average scoring per game has slipped nearly a dozen points in this four-game skid. Trouble in paradise? How about the fact that Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson have not only been in a battle for the NBA’s scoring title, but have also been scrapping it out for the turnover crown too! Currently Iverson holds the title belt of sloppiest player in the league with an average of 4.2 giveaways a night, but Anthony isn’t going to let him just run away with it. Carmelo is right on his coattails with the third worst turnover rate of 3.9 miscues a game his own self.

Alright, now that the grim facts have been exposed it is time for an opportunity to be highlighted for one of the Nuggets to seize. With the injury to J.R. Smith it is high-time for DerMarr Johnson to be opportunistic and prove that he can play the point-forward position. Denver NEEDS DerMarr to step-up to the opportunity presenting itself and knock down a couple threes, distribute the ball, and play some suffocating defense. He has all the tools. DJ is 6’9”, lanky, quick, and fully capable of handling the rock. He should be able to post up opposing team’s point guards, while still being quick enough to slash to the basket when overplayed on the perimeter. He also possesses the length to be bothersome on defense, (as Allen Iverson got to experience firsthand last season), and if he will just box out and then hit the boards he will be a breath of fresh air for the Nuggets. So, if DerMarr can just play economic basketball he has the chance to prove he is an invaluable piece for the Nuggets during this stretch of games and that is if he can only find his way into the mix to prove to George Karl that he can be productive. “If” being the biggest pairing of one consonant and a vowel in the entire English dictionary.

Tonight is a real test for the resolve of this team. Win and turn over a new page. Lose and expect the headlines to be ridiculing. Come on now, Nuggets, hunt down the Grizzlies!


Stumbleweed said...

I don't know why the hell George hasn't been using Dermarr at all since JR went down... He's definitely a better shooter (especially from deep) than either Kleiza or Yak, he's HUGE for a 2, he plays pretty solid on-ball defense, and he can get to the hoop.

And I'd like to see a little bit of Reggie when we're getting outrebounded like we have been recently -- he got a big fat DNP against Dallas, which I don't like. I don't want him in there all the time because of his shooting, but he's the kind of guy we need to have out there when we have Melo and AI together... he doesn't need the ball at all and creates opportunities with his rebounding.

I dunno -- I'm right there with you struggling for answers. My dream lineup is hosed for now, but what we've been doing isn't working. With AI (and Melo's) recent ball-handling troubles, we might want to put Blake back in and run AI as a 2. The turnovers were absolutely ridiculous last game, and I think a large part of it is Blake only playing 25 minutes. He hasn't been helping us at all with his shooting lately, but I do think we need him out there to pace the offense and make smart passes. Melo can really pass well, but his decision-making lately hasn't been very good (same with AI).

I think George just needs to play everyone on the roster to see who is gonna step up and provide some scoring aside from Melo and AI. I have a feeling that DJ is the best option, but he has been pretty invisible most of the year thanks to JR. Hopefully he can put something together (assuming he gets the change to play). If we don't see DJ in this game, I'll definitely be disappointed.

btalk said...

The fact that a win over the Grizzlies isn't a sure thing, even a rout, says it all. Give millionaire athletes guaranteed money, then build in excuses for lack of performance, and this is what happens. I guess it doesn't take much pride to cash your check when you have direct deposit!!I won't jump off the bandwagon just yet, but the Nuggets need to give us, hell, themselves, a reason to be proud.

btalk said...

One more thing...stop with the "We just aren't on the same page" bull pucky! It's not that hard of a book fellas, we're not asking you to cure cancer, just stay between your man and the basket, and move without the ball. I could cover a stationary target. There, that's the whole book summarized for you.

Alfred said...

memph can be tricky, especially now that pau's back and if miller is bombing from the outside, not to mention rudy gay's mini renaissance, but bottle up miller and clog pau in the post and it should be a fairly easy day, but still, that's why they play the games, yadda yadda yadda. this playoff run for the last west spots is turning into a "who can screw up the least" contest...